Mastic Man killed, three others suffer minor injuries in Route 58 head-on collision

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Accident scene on Route 58 in Riverhead Saturday night.

The driver of a car that turned into the path of an oncoming Suzuki SUV died and three people in the SUV were injured in a two-car collision on Route 58 Saturday night a few minutes before 8 p.m. just east of the entrance to the BJ’s/Kmart shopping center on Route 58.

Julio Velez, 50, of Mastic had to be extricated from the Saturn he had been driving and was pronounced dead on the scene. Mr. Velez had been involved to two previous minor accidents west of the fatal collision scene and had driven off after both without stopping, Riverhead Police reported.

The three people in the SUV were treated at the scene and taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Police identified them as Lawanda Clemons, 36, and Devin Clemons, 20, of Riverhead and Paul Shorter Jr., 21, of Middle Island.

The Saturn and the SUV collided head-on in the westbound lane. After the crash, the Saturn with a crushed front-end was still in the roadway and the SUV was lodged against the guardrail on the side of the road.

The Riverhead Fire Department was called with heavy rescue equipment and Riverhead Police closed off Route 58 between Oliver Street and Northville Turnpike.

According to the police account of the crash, which was released Sunday morning at 04:45, the 2008 Suzuki Grand Vitara SUV had been traveling westbound on Route 58 when the 1991 Saturn 4, heading east, “appears to have entered the westbound lane into oncoming … traffic for unknown reasons.”

The driver of the SUV, Lawanda Clemons, and two passengers were treated at the scene by Riverhead Fire Department personnel and taken to the Peconic Bay Medical Center with minor injuries. Mr. Velez, after he was removed from his car, was pronounced dead as a result of multiple injuries. He had been alone in the car.

Police are asking anyone they have not yet interviewed who witnessed any of the accidents in which the Saturn was involved to call Riverhead Police at (631) 727-4500.